Swab collection stops in Siraha, increasing COVID-19 risk - English Version of Pharak Sandesh

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Monday, June 15, 2020

Swab collection stops in Siraha, increasing COVID-19 risk

Lahan, June 15 (RSS): Collection of throat and nasal swab of suspected coronavirus cases has stopped in Siraha since the last two weeks, increasing the risk of further spread of COVID-19.

The collection of swabs has halted in Siraha since June 1 after none of the laboratory among the Dharan-based BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences (BPKIHS) and the labs at Rajbiraj, Janakpur, Biratnagar, Birgunj and Kathmandu.

"Neither the lab at BPKIHS at Dharan nor the ones at Biratnagar, Rajbiraj, Janakpur and Teku have agreed to take the swabs. Actually we send the collected swabs to Janakpur and Kathmandu for testing. But Janakpur has send a letter saying not to send the swabs now and Teku (Kathmandu) has said the same. That is why we have stopped collecting swabs," District Health Office Siraha's chief Bishnudev Yadav said. 

He added that the collection of swabs has been stopped in the district since June 1 as none of the swab testing laboratory in the country accepted the swabs for testing.

District Health Office chief Yadav said the risk of spread of coronavirus has further increased with the daily growing number of people returning to their homes in the district from India. Coronavirus is spreading rapidly in India and this has also posed a risk. 

According to him, the district health office has enough kits for collecting swabs but there is confusion collecting the swabs as the labs are refusing to take swabs and there is no clear directive from higher health authorities to start the swab collection in the district.

"So, we are compelled to carry out the rapid diagnostic test (RDT) of suspected coronavirus cases and send them home," he said. 

It may be noted that 420 swab samples were collected from Siraha on May 30 and 31 and June 1 sent for testing, but results of only 150 samples have been available. The results of the remaining swabs sent for testing are not available.

Meanwhile, the people's representatives have said they have been facing problem managing the quarantines at various places in the district as the test results are not available for two weeks now. They are in confusion whether to send the people in quarantine to their home or keep them in quarantine.

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